(AFP) – Apr 1, 2009
BAGHDAD (AFP) — A total of 252 Iraqis were killed in violence in March, almost the same casualty figures as in February when the toll was 258, Iraq authorities said on Wednesday.
Statistics compiled by the defence, interior and health ministries showed that 185 civilians, 14 soldiers and 53 policemen were killed across Iraq, while the total number of those wounded stood at 647.
The March and February tolls were nevertheless higher than January when a total of 191 Iraqis were killed -- the lowest figures since the US-led invasion in 2003.
The death toll remained high in March due to four major suicide bombings, including a March 8 attack in Baghdad when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up killing at least 28 people outside a police academy.
Two days later 33 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad targeting tribal leaders and army officers who were meeting people outside the town hall.
On March 26 a car bomb ripped through a Baghdad crowd near a market killing at least 20 people and three days later a suicide attack against Kurdish mourners in central Iraq killed 27 people.
Also in March a total of 45 rebel suspects were killed in Iraq, where 650 insurgents were arrested, the figures showed.
Security has improved dramatically in Iraq since 2007, when Iraqi and US forces launched offensives against the Al-Qaeda militant with the help of local US-financed and trained militias.
In 2008, 6,772 Iraqis were killed in violence. But in January 2007 alone 1,992 civilians, 40 soldiers and 55 police were killed.
But attacks remain frequent in the capital Baghdad, in confessionally divided Diyala province and around the main northern city of Mosul, which is split between Sunni Arabs, Christians and Kurds.
Last week US army spokesman Major General David Perkins noted said that attacks in Iraq had dropped to their lowest levels since the months following the March 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Eight US soldiers were killed in March -- the lowest toll in six years -- bringing to 4,262 the total number of American losses since March 2003, according to an AFP count based on the independent website www.icasualties.org.
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